Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Renaissance fest costume in the works

How do the days pass so quickly? It seems like just yesterday I decided to make a new pirate costume for the Renaissance fest, but it must have been more like 3 weeks ago. I've been thinking about it and planning and thinking about it and stressing and thinking about it and suddenly I realized this weekend that I only had about two weeks left to make the following:


To this end, I ordered a bunch of lovely 100% cotton jacquard fabrics from FabricMart.com for just $3.50 a yard! I will post about these later. But in a stunningly practical move, I am not using any of them in my costume. I feel really stressed out whenever I spend more than $50 at a time, but they had a 20% off coupon for first-time shoppers so I got 25 yards of fabric for just $78.00 and that includes the shipping. And I mean, the price was unbeatable.

I made am making my corset from a vintage tablecloth that my lovely friend Kristine gave me. It's pale yellow and is printed with dogwoods, so it already has two of my favorite things going for it. It's a tight weave, so I can use it in a single-layer corset.

I think it's darling. I am using Simplicity 2890, which I picked up at Joann's for $1.00. The corset was designed by fashion historian Kay Gnagey and I have actually worn one of her corsets a few times and loved it. It's my ideal corset. Originally this was going to be a practice piece but I decided to just make it all the way because a) I am too lazy to fit a corset properly to my figure, b) my figure is pretty much made for Victorian/Civil War era corsets, being an hourglass shape, proportionate boobs to hips, and short-waisted, and c) I don't have time to make another one before the Ren fest.

This was my first time inserting gussets into anything, and it could have been a rage-fest but I found this wonderful tutorial before I ever started, and that made everything a breeze. That being said, I forgot to do a 5/8" seam allowance, doing a 3/8" instead, so the bust is too big. I don't really care right now.

I'm still trying to decide if I'll use 1/4" zip ties for the boning or order steel boning. Steel boning isn't really that much more expensive than zip ties. It's the corset busk that's kind of expensive--and that damn shipping--so I might as well just get proper boning. I need to make a decision soon.

I almost ordered all that stuff this weekend but then froze with indecision because, in my usual can't-do-anything-in-moderation fashion, I thought as long as I'm ordering boning for one corset, why not order boning for FOUR CORSETS??? The shipping will be the same, and I want to make this corset again, and I have another Simplicity corset pattern I want to try, and since that other one looks easy maybe I should just make TWO of it also!?!?!?!

Moving on, I am using a 1970s dress pattern for the chemise/blouse. I get a lot of my patterns at my favorite thrift store, and they come 2-3 in a package. So for every one that I buy, I get two extras that are usually not something I'm interested in. I've been listing those extra patterns on my Etsy store, but there are a handful that I have put in the "No Redeeming Qualities" category destined for my trashcan. This was one of them. But juuuuuust as I was about to throw it out, View A suddenly struck me as an AWESOME lady pirate blouse.

Look at it.


I am going to use a sheer linen swag that my friend Melissa found for me at the Goodwill outlet last year. I should probably save it for something more important than a pirate chemise, but I'm trying to save money where I can. What's the point of having a fabric stash if you don't use it?

I'm going set the elastic slightly higher on the sleeve and then trim the cuff which white lace bordered with gold lace at the top, like so:

For the bodice and skirt, I'm going to use this Simplicity 3809, View A. I originally had grand plans to make an underskirt out of some of the white cotton jacquard I got from FabricMart, and make a bustled overskirt from the Janet Arnold book, which would have meant rescaling the pattern and being amazingly talented. But for the sake of simplicity (hahahaha), and lack of time, I'm just going to have to settle for a Big Four pattern. But it will still be cute!!

I am pissed off at Joann's for having their linen fabrics 30% off for the past two weeks at least, which means I can't use any of the 50% off coupons I've had. Assholes. I really don't want to spend $45 on fabric if I can avoid it. So after much stress and fuming, I've decided to dye my dark brown linen skirt from my previous Ren fest outfit black. And to make the bodice from a jacquard tablecloth I've had squirreled away and dye that black to match.

I spent 8 hours online yesterday picking out gold Venice lace trims for this outfit, only to realize that if I trimmed it like I wanted to, I'd end up spending some $50-$60 on lace. I can't afford that right now. So after all that, I just got 10 yards of one type of lace and I guess I'll be spending about $27 which includes the shipping, which is nice and cheap as far as that kind of thing goes.

Now I just need to stop thinking about stuff and actually do something about it.


  1. It takes so long to get just the right stuff together for these things! Can't wait to see the finished costume!

  2. Thanks Jessica! I just hope that someday I will feel secure enough about my financial situation to really be able to pick and choose and BUY the fabrics and trims that I want, rather than skimp and have to be thrifty. :-)

    BTW, I'm finally almost done with my Titanic corset from Jo's sew-along two years ago!